Mix beauty with the grotesque
Jim Pavelec demonstrates how to combine the delicate beauty of a female face with elements of the grotesque to create haunting and intriguing portraits
Late in the 15th century the remnants of ancient buildings – Emperor Nero’s lost palace – were discovered beneath the Esquiline Hill, the largest of the seven hills of Rome. Adorning the walls of these buried buildings are myriad decorative paintings containing bizarre figures combining human, animal and vegetal forms. The Italians at that time named the decorations grottesca (from grotto or cave) or “grotesques”.
The influence of the grotesques spread rapidly throughout Europe, inspiring artists over successive centuries such as Michelangelo, Hieronymus Bosch, Salvator Rosa, Henry Fuseli, William Blake and Goya. This rich visual tradition led authors such as Poe, Baudelaire, Lovecraft and many others to take up the mantle of the grotesque. More recently, we can see the revitalisation of the grotesque in the art of HR Giger, Zdzisław Beksinski,´ Allen Williams, Wayne Barlowe and Chet Zar.
There is a power in the grotesque, one that wrapped its slithering tentacles around my imagination at a very young age. It took me a very long time to let go of what people were telling me I should do with my art and truly embrace what I knew I should have been doing all along. In this workshop we’ll delve into the techniques I use to create the beautiful and bizarre creations that are the foundation of my imaginative life.